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Cornwall

Cornwall – a Great British Budget Escape

By 3 September 2012 Cornwall, Travel, United Kingdom
Camping in Cornwall. Easycamp Boston 400 tent.

Cornwall is home to the classic British seaside holiday.  Some people have said that it’s cheaper to holiday abroad.  I don’t know where they’re buying their holidays but I’m sure that’s just not true.  There is also so much to explore here in the UK that it’s not necessary to jet off overseas for every holiday.  We are in the era of the staycation.

Cornwall is one of the mildest and sunniest regions of the UK, the weather is affected by the Gulf Stream.  This doesn’t mean it’s always warm and sunny though! This is Britain after all.

I spent a week with my fiance camping at Perran Sands, a Haven park near Perranporth.  The pitch cost less than £100 for 7 nights, great for those of us on a budget.  The park itself offered indoor and outdoor swimming pools, family activities such as mini-golf and evening entertainment.  We used the pools a few times but otherwise didn’t use the facilities that much.  We spent our days out and about exploring this region that neither of us had visited previously.  A tip for anyone visiting this park is to take alternative tent pegs, i.e. the plastic ones with spikes, rather than the simple metal ones that come with your tent.  Underneath the thin layer of grass is sand.  When it’s windy the wind lifts the tent and the tent pegs simply pull out of the ground.  We woke in the middle of the night to find the tent half collapsed on us one night!  Another day we’d been out all day and returned to find that the park ranger had hastily re-erected out tent as it had almost blown away!

Perranporth beach offers a huge expanse of soft sand but also this amazing rocky outcrops.  These create loads of opportunities for rock-pooling.  The beach was busy bearing in mind we weren’t travelling during the school holidays.  There’s a pub on the beach that has sand on the floor inside and tables out on the sand outside.  This gave it an awesome surfer feel.  Perfect for people like me who prefer to be barefoot.  There’s something about standing at the bar with no shoes on.

The bustling St Ives is a beautiful town with plenty to see and do.  We took a RIB ride out around the coast. I’ve done this before in Weymouth, but for my fiance it was his first time out on one of these high-speed inflatables.  I love being on the water and I can’t recommend this RIB rides enough.  We enjoyed fantastic weather so were able to make the most of the numerous ice cream vendors along the sea front too.

The winding back streets of St Ives are filled with little, tucked away B&Bs, pubs and art galleries.  We used the Park and Ride as we didn’t fancy trying to find somewhere to park in St Ives.  Although the Park and Ride is expensive I’m glad we chose this option as I think we would have struggled to find anywhere to park in the town and negotiating the narrow, busy roads wouldn’t have been fun.

Tate St Ives, is an off-shoot of the Tate Gallery in London.  The displays include British and international contemporary artwork.  Admission is £6.50 so we didn’t venture in but it would be a must for art lovers.  I enjoy galleries and museums but don’t like paying for them.  I have a habit of spending very little time in museums because I don’t really like reading the blurb next to the display!

The Eden Project is one of Cornwall’s most famous attractions in recent years.  It definitely worth the trip and suitable for the whole family.  The best thing is that there’s plenty to do inside if the weather is inclement.  I’ve written about our visit in a previous post.

Touristy Padstow was so busy.  Famous for Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant this fishing town is filled with restaurants and shops selling local produce.  This is where we bought all our presents to take home.  Amazing biscuits and clotted cream fudge.  I can assure you the fudge didn’t last very long!

The student town of Falmouth lies at the mouth of the Fal (hence the name!) and is home to University College Falmouth.  This gives an eclectic mix of local, student and visitor population and the town caters for all.  The setting is beautiful with both estuary and sea views depending on where you are in the town.

During our week’s holiday I think we spent less than £300 all told.  I would definitely go back to Cornwall, but probably next time we’ll stay in something solid!  My other half was less than impressed with the sleeping arrangements! I’m definitely more hardy than he is when it comes to camping.

For more information on Cornwall, visit the tourist board’s website.

By Rachel Birchley

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Is the Eden Project Worth a Visit?

By 22 July 2012 Cornwall, Life, Lifestyle, Travel, United Kingdom

In one word: Yes. The Eden Project is all the way down in Cornwall so quite a trek for anyone in the UK, unless they live in Cornwall but it really is a sight to be seen. About a 15 minute car journey from St Austell, in an old quarry, lays this spectacular attraction. Getting there is quite easy as it’s well signed and there is plenty of car parking. From the car park you take a shuttle bus down to the Visitor Centre.

The Outdoor Gardens form the walkway down to the biomes. There is such an array of flora and some interesting little finds along the way, including this hand coming out of the ground.

There are sculptures dotted around the flower beds and it creates a real-life, ever-changing exhibition.

Once you enter the domes you are faced with the choice of whether to enter the Rainforest or Mediterranean biome first. We chose the Rainforest but I would actually recommend doing the Mediterranean biome first as it is smaller and you’ll be more impressed with the Rainforest biome once you’ve seen the smaller one. There are cloakrooms available to hang your outdoor gear, I would highly recommend this as the last thing you want to do is lug your jumpers and coats round the hot and humid biomes.

The biomes contain a huge selection of flowers and plants from around the globe. You will also find an amazing waterfall! The Rainforest biome is really warm and muggy so consider this when deciding what to wear for your visit. In addition to the plant life on display there are informative and interactive displays. While in the Rainforest biome don’t miss out on your chance to try a Baobab smoothie. They’re divine and a refreshing, thirst quencher.

Once you’ve had your fill of the displays stop for a tasty bite to eat at the Eden Bakery between the biomes. Its fresh, seasonal selection of food is delicious and the portions generous. You take a board, choose what you’d like to eat and drink, then take a seat on the large, communal tables. Once you’re done you just tell the cashier what you had and cash up. The help-yourself Eton Mess was amazing as we had the biggest bowls of dessert you can imagine! I think it took us at least 15 minutes to devour it all.

We spent a good half day at The Eden Project but could have been there longer if the good old English summer weather hadn’t taken a turn for the worse. We made use of the road train to take us back up to the Visitor Centre and avoid the downpour. The Visitor Centre houses a fantastic gift shop. I have to say I am definitely a bit partial to a gift shop, I have been known to only visit the shop at a museum or gallery! The Eden Project shop is a great example. I purchased a couple of fabulous jute bags for carrying our shopping. The colours are wonderful and they are such strong bags. You can buy anything from sweets and pencils to hoodies and jewellery.

So to sum up, if you’ve ever thought of going to The Eden Project, do it. You won’t regret it.

If you shop at Tesco’s and have a Clubcard you can use the vouchers to buy tickets making huge savings on the gate price. This is what we did. Full price adult tickets are £23.50 on the door or £7.50 in Clubcard vouchers. Bargain.

To find out more visit www.edenproject.com

By Rachel Birchley

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